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Practice Routine Suggestions

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Hi all, 


    I'm looking for some suggestions/advice on my practice routine.   When I was first starting out, I found it easier to manage my practice time, but after my first year, I'm finding it difficult to decide what exactly I want to focus on and for how long.   I'm truly interested in learning as many different styles and whatnot, so it becomes a bit overwhelming at times when I sit down to schedule out my practice sessions for the week.  I am currently interested in learning acoustic blues style, fingerpicking styles, folk, and some rock.   my biggest issue right now is where to start.   So if I pick the blues to focus on for awhile, where would be a good place to start?  

This is my current routine as of now:

10-15 min- Warm up exercises (chromatic ex., alternate picking ex., etc)

10-15 min- Scales, chords, progressions

15-20 min- working on original songs, cover songs  


I realize now that one of my biggest mistakes up to this point is not focusing enough on learning the fret board.  I am going to start incorporating different exercises to help me in this area.    If any of you have any suggestions or advice for me on this topic, I would greatly appreciate it.    I've been playing for a year now, but still see myself as a beginner.  


Thanks in advance. 


Take care. 



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I never had a practice routine.  Some would say it shows in my playing, but I learned what I wanted to learn.  My thought is that any time spent playing the instrument will bring improvement.  I'm sure its not 100% that improve, but I believe most people would improve.  It worked for me.  Work on, or just play, whatever you want.  I think you will grow as a player.


I will admit that I don't read music.  I can slowly fight my way through tab.  If you want to learn to read music you might need more structure than I ever gave myself.  The closest I ever get to structured practice is becoming manic about a song or a lick and playing nothing else until I get it.  I'm a bit crazed anyway, so the behavior fits the pattern.  I learned to play over a long period of time.  More structure might lessen that time.  I do appreciate those who can read music, but I don't want enough structure and notation to hurt my playing.  :-)

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The single most significant problem with a self taught student is, they don't know what they don't know.  


If you don't know what you don't know, you also don't know what you should know.  And, since self taught students often end up chasing the next bright, shiny thing, they don't tend to have the discipline to actually learn something before they move on to the next thing.  


A good lesson plan is one that starts by setting a goal - a goal that is specific, not "be a better guitar player".  A goal that keeps you on one road and doesn't allow you to bounce around learning "many styles".  Unfortunately, too many of us want what we want and we want it now and we have little patience for when it doesn't come to us quickly and soon.  


You should begin learning the basics of "practical music theory for guitarists"; https://www.google.com/search?q=practical+music+theory+for+guitarists&rlz=1CAACAY_enUS754US756&oq=practical+music+theory+for+guitarists&aqs=chrome..69i57.12808j0j1&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8


IMO learning how music is structured is the single most important lesson you can have.  Practicing how music's structure is used in any one genre will give you insight into how other forms are similar and different.  There are only 12 notes to work with in "Western music" so it's how you learn to emphasize certain aspects of those notes that makes a "style".    


Take in only what you can learn in a few weeks and  then a few months.  A very good lesson plan builds this week's lesson on what you have learned in last week's lesson and the lesson before that and the lesson before that.  If you have no structure to your lessons, then you waste a tremendous amount of time.  IMO it doesn't hurt to find a very good instructor and get someone to give you the basic bones of a style and to correct the problems you may have taught yourself.  


Many players have learned to play by simply playing songs.  Unfortunately, that doesn't work for most of us, at least not in a timely manner.  IMO songs should be structured to build in difficulty along with your proficiency.  Most of us will need some type of lesson plan to get that.  Once you have a lesson plan, you need to stick with that plan from beginning to end.  Even if you think you know the material, take the lesson again.  Instructors say things differently and you learn things in your own particular way.  You may just find there's something in a new lesson that will make other things fall into place.  



Don't bounce around.  You can work on more than one thing at any time, but stick to the forward progress a structured lesson plan offers.


Keep a journal to track your progress; https://www.google.com/search?rlz=1CAACAY_enUS754US756&ei=pcJnWp6RKIXwsAXM5LvIBg&q=guitarist's+practice+journal&oq=guitarist's+practice+journal&gs_l=psy-ab.3...13618.18379.0.20312.



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On 1/24/2018 at 8:22 AM, JanVigne said:

IMO learning how music is structured is the single most important lesson you can have. 

Can you learn that by playing by ear?  And getting a natural ear for it?

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Explain what your "natural ear" is doing. 


Are you saying you can play and not know anything about the rules of music or guitar? 

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